English teachers, what items do you keep in your classroom? Whether you’re just starting out or are a veteran teacher, there are many useful objects that are handy to have around the classroom. Some you may already have, but others you may not have thought of and could be used to shake up your lesson routine. Read on to discover how you can gather together all the classroom essentials for English teachers…
Back to basics
There are lots of modern teaching methods, but sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. Every good classroom needs basic supplies, such as pens, pencils, notebooks, plain paper and erasers (because it’s ok to make mistakes!). You can probably think of other items to add to this list, but the important thing is that this equipment is where the learning will start – it ensures your students are able to practise their skills, such as writing and reading.
Another basic item that is useful in the classroom is a pack of flash cards. These are a fun way to break up learning activities, and there are plenty of ways you can use them. You could write words on them and ask your students to memorise them, or they could be used in quizzes or group work.
The basic items listed above are classroom essentials for English teachers, and they are good options for schools where technological options, such as Wi-Fi, might not be freely available. In areas where technology can be embraced, there are many ways to use devices to teach English – and these ideas have been particularly embraced by “blended” teachers (teachers who use technology to deliver part of their programme).
Because they have so many uses, iPads and tablets are great devices to have in the classroom. They can be used to record your students’ conversations, so they can listen back and learn. They could also be used as a way to create conversations between students about their favourite songs, TV programmes or movies. The real beauty of these ideas is that your students can continue their learning outside the classroom using podcasts, songs and other English-speaking media. If you feel you have a good connection to your students, you could also set up a social media group, so you can keep in touch and lend learning support via tablets and laptops.
If tablets are not available, CD players are a good alternative, as you could pre-record parts of lessons on CDs and play them to your students. They can also take away CDs in order to continue their learning after they step outside the classroom. Not every student has a laptop or tablet, but the majority will hopefully be able to find a way to listen to a CD.
Other useful objects
You may be surprised to learn that household items such as a toothbrush, Post-it notes and an egg timer can all be used to teach English. And the same can be said for many everyday objects. Your students may not expect to be faced with some of these items, but they can used to create tasks and games in class, form a basis for group work and spark conversation.
For example, an egg timer could, of course, be used to time a speaking exercise. But wouldn’t it be more fun for your English students to describe the shape or sound it makes? Or, perhaps you could use the timer to practise numbers with your students, or to give them time-related puzzles and quizzes. Have a look at our blog about using household items in class for more ideas.
Visual aids work well in class, and other great examples include photographs and maps. For some students, visuals are almost a lifeline to help them through their learning tasks. When implemented appropriately, visuals give students a different way of learning – something that can help their progress and maintain their motivation. Imagine how enthusiastic your students will be describing a place they’ve been on holiday – or a destination they’d love to visit.
Finally, having your own library of English novels can also encourage your student to continue their learning outside the classroom. A good range of books – from simple children’s books to pieces of classic literature – will give your learners plenty of choice and could help them to progress up the levels.
What other items do you find useful in your classroom? Let us know in the comments section below…